SEOUL -- Global ride-hailing service operator Uber has launched a new Seoul-based call taxi service, similar to that provided by South Korean web service giant Kakao, three years after it was forced to close a ride-hailing service due to strong protests from taxi drivers.
Uber has consistently tried to expand its base in South Korea's mobility market, starting with "Uber X", a derailed car-sharing service, in 2014. However, the American company has launched other services such as "Uber Black", a premium taxi service, "Uber Assist" for the weak and disabled, and "UberEATS", a food delivery service.
Uber said in a statement Tuesday that its smart mobility service would start connecting customers with ordinary taxis in Seoul. Customers can use Uber's smartphone app to call a taxi and pay their fare just like catching an ordinary cab in the streets.
"We plan to provide more diverse and advanced mobility services and continue to pursue cooperation with domestic partners," Uber's South Korean mobility service director Son Hee-seok was quoted as saying.
Uber's new taxi service is similar to Kakao T, a smartphone-based call taxi service provided by the operator of South Korea's most popular messenger app. SK Telecom, the country's top mobile carrier, operates a revamped navigation app-based call taxi service.
Former Uber head Travis Kalanick was slapped with a 20 million won ($17,583) fine in 2018 for operating illegal taxi services.
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